The other day at church someone came up to me and congratulated me for my grades. Since I don’t know this person very well and don’t generally wear t-shirts emblazoned with my current transcript, I was confused. “You were in the paper!” she said by way of explanation. She was starting to look doubtful, like she knew she was about to be sorry for bringing it up. I asked her to confirm my name and the school I attend, then asked her if she was joking, the answer to which I made her repeat maybe 5 or 6 times. This exchange is probably reading as either really mundane or really awkward to you, and let me assure you: it was absolutely both.
I should probably work for the CIA (or at least tell people I do, like this guy) because after only about 24 hours of hard-hitting detective work, I came upon it:
Sort of awesome, right? Or maybe just really unsettling and kind-of violating. There is apparently no law against a newspaper printing my legal name, along with my major, which year I am in, a general idea of my grade point average, and which university I attend without mt consent. Not even a quick phone call or email! You could argue that they don’t have my phone number or email, but come on. These people obviously know everything about me.
This kind-of scares me because – what else can be published about me without my consent? How often use a treadmill? How frequently I clean my bathrooms? The pregnancy-and-nursing-induced fluctuations of my bra size? My name is out there now! I feel like if my grades qualify as printable news, nothing is off limits. Perhaps I should call the paper next time I put a meatloaf in the oven.
On top of that, the Baker City Herald has now created a really high expectation of me and whored it all over town. This is bad because it is an expectation that I will in no way be able to maintain. Baby #3 is coming in March, and everyone knows that newborn babies do not care about your academic success. No matter how many textbooks I read aloud to my baby while he’s in the womb (“And now, baby, we are going to cover the triad of epidemiology!”), I don’t think it’s like if you eat carrots while pregnant your baby will come out liking carrots. I’m pretty sure this baby is going to come out wanting to eat constantly, poop his pants, and, most importantly, fail to be even the least bit supportive of my academic career. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, BABY?
The same person who put my name in the paper in the first place will probably have to do a follow-up story. The headline will be something like: Forget What We Printed Last December: Corinne Allen Actually Sucks. Or maybe it will be a cautionary article: CLOSE YOUR LEGS AMERICA! New Data Confirms: Having Babies Causes Terrible Grades in School.
Finally, printing my GPA with no other information creates a frighteningly incomplete picture. For example, in order to maintain my grades, I had to cut back my work hours and my paychecks got really sad for a few months. I had trouble paying my water bill! So yay GPA, but I almost had to stop taking showers. I could easily have been Baker City’s eccentric genius who is so busy formulating quantum physics that she doesn’t have time to bathe herself. CLOSE CALL, EVERYONE.
My kids also started getting extra time in front of the TV so mama could squeeze out a bit more time for schoolwork. So yay GPA, but my kids may have suffered an enormous deficit of enriching, Pinterest-worthy activities. Oh, yes, Corinne Allen? She’s smart and motivated, but she smells terrible and her children don’t know any vocabulary except what they picked up off Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Yo-ho-ho!
In all honesty, it was such a tough term for me, my first as a full-time student with kids, that I was shocked that I did so well. And I know that printing my name was a nice thing and not as creepy as my instincts try to tell me. And another thing is that no one pays nearly as much attention to me as I do. I could probably try to explain myself to, say, a checker at Safeway, but it is 99.9% likely that she’s not going to have any idea what I’m talking about. Then I’ll look like an even bigger wierdo for even mentioning it, and behold! We’ve come full circle.